Let me ask you this: Would you hire someone to remodel your home, and then never go to see how it looks during the remodeling process?
Or would you ever hire anyone, especially someone who cost a lot of money, and never monitor their results? It’s not likely!
At the far end of the financial service relationship, there’s micromanaging, and this rarely happens when a woman works with a financial adviser. At the other extreme, there’s neglect of the relationship by either party.
So, what, exactly, is a female client’s responsibility in her relationship with her financial adviser? And what can be done by a woman to allow an adviser to manage her money, yet still own her power around her money by staying informed and in control?
There’s been a lot of focus recently on women firing their financial adviser shortly after their husband dies since a study revealed that about 70% of women do just that. The relationship is usually severed because the primary interaction was with the male spouse. But why is that?
Most of the financial advisers I speak with want their women clients, married or not, to be more involved with their wealth management, but it’s not happening. Studies confirm this crazy paradigm. It’s crazy because women are overwhelmingly in charge of the spending decisions that produce the family’s lifestyle. But what about growing the money needed to create that desired lifestyle?
When a problem exists in anything, both parties almost always contribute in some way to that problem. So, why don’t women have stronger relationships with their financial advisers, especially married women? And what can the woman do to improve this incongruence?
At this point in life, I’ve learned that blame is basically worthless, yet everyone seems to be blaming the financial adviser industry, where steps are being taken to connect better with women. But let’s focus on some simple yet effective things that can be done by women who work with a financial adviser to become and stay more proactive in their wealth management.
- Be involved. Attend all meetings with your financial adviser. This is the very best way to stay in the loop. For married couples, if for some reason you woman can’t attend, reschedule the meeting.
- Show up informed. Look over your investment returns before your meeting with your adviser. Make a list of questions to take into the meeting so you’re prepared and proactive.
- Know your stuff, at least some of it. My kids taught me that you can find out anything by googling it within about 2 minutes. When you make your list of questions beforehand, google what you don’t know that you really feel like you should know. This will go a very long way in boosting your confidence, and your knowledge.
- Become a leader. Refuse to be intimidated by financial lingo! In fact, demand that lingo be explained, if not entirely avoided. There is no need for it. Many people in most professions use it without ever realizing it because industry lingo is how they talk every day, including financial advisers. Other people use it to try to sound smarter than you (a.k.a. intimidation), perhaps even subconsciously. When you first walk into the meeting, ask the adviser to speak with you using language that she used when she took her first finance class, with a smile, of course.
- Get the benchmark concept. If you don’t do anything else, understand what a benchmark is so that you can measure and understand the results your adviser is getting for you. Your knowledge of benchmarks will allow you to communicate with your adviser in a meaningful way, and make better decisions. Basically, a benchmark is an index, or group of securities (such as stocks or bonds), that provide a measurement for comparison purposes. Click here for my post where I explain more about this super important but simple free and easily found tool that every investor must know and use.
As you can see, this isn’t rocket science; it’s quite simple, but these steps can be very influential in your relationship with your financial adviser, and in growing your wealth. This means that when you know and take these actions, you’ll stand in your power around your money and your investments. And what woman doesn’t want that?
Overseeing your money is simply too important to be completely delegated. Sure, if you’re married, it makes sense to divide tasks between couples, but never without this minimal involvement. And, if you chose to work with one, your financial adviser is responsible for the day to day managing your investments, not you. But, the reality is that you’re responsible for overseeing anyone you hire to do anything for you. Some areas of your life, like your money, warrant your involvement and attention.
Where can you squeeze out a couple of hours every month or two to stay involved in one of the most important aspects of your life, and the life of those you love? The reality is that the life you desire costs money, and it costs attention. Make it happen, then see the rewarding results from your actions.
Other related articles you’ll want to read if you like this: